Thursday, July 14, 2016

Planting Our Vineyard

"The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the people of the whole earth were dispersed. Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent." - Genesis 9:18-21 ESV

Let me first say that I don't drink wine or alcoholic beverages. I have personal convictions about it based on biblical truth. I also don't want to be a stumbling block to anyone who has or has had a problem in that area.

"And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, 'Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.' And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives." - Matthew 26:27-30 ESV

"And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit," - Ephesians 5:18 ESV

Wine is symbol for joy in the Hebrew scriptures. I will drink wine with my Savior one day. My body will have been changed by then. I won't have the weaknesses I have now. In a way I consider myself a soldier. I won't do certain things 'on duty' and I will be on duty for the rest of my time on Earth. All things are lawful but not all things are profitable. Being filled with the Spirit is profitable in this age we live in.

It is interesting to think of Noah as a wine person. People who know a lot about wine are often very particular. They have words for every aspect of the wine's flavor. The soil in Spain is different from the soil in Italy or in France and wine people know all about it. They know which wine to drink with different foods. In a way they are experts at cultivating a natural kind of joy.

Noah came through the ultimate PTSD inducing experience. He lived through the end of his world. He had worked and worked and worked for so long and now he was in a new world. The waters had subsided and he saw the soil and regrowth of a clean and purified Earth and thought, 'This soil is perfect for grapes!'

If anyone deserved a little joy it was Noah. That guy had spent his life pounding out the will of God. He had spent several of our lifetimes.

But there was a problem. More than one in fact. There were only a few people on the planet and the Earth had changed after the flood. Air pressure had changed. The intensity of the sun had changed. Scientists even believe from studying pre-flood vegetation that all the water on the planet had been changed in subtle ways. The absorption of minerals in water and vegetation had been altered. Dinosaurs lived before the flood because they could live in that environment. The Earth could support meaty creatures that large because the vegetation had the nutrition to support them.

Noah just saw great soil and a chance to relax tending a huge vineyard. I imagine it was a large one. Noah wasn't exactly a small scale person, was he? The thing is... the joy he imagined was no longer practical in this new world.

"He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father's nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, 'Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.' He also said, 'Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant.' After the flood Noah lived 350 years. All the days of Noah were 950 years, and he died." - Genesis 9:21-29 ESV

Noah was 600 years old when this happened. Noah changed his focus and he lived another 350 years watching his children go in different directions.

I see it as a warning. Is God's grace enough or am I planning to plant and expand my vineyard and cultivate a life of natural joy? You might say, 'Does it have to be one or the other? Can't I have both?' and all I can say is read the Bible and decide. Far be it for me to tell you how to live your life.

Joshua said...

"And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." - Joshua 24:15 ESV

He lived a victorious life.

In this age we are not servants we are sons and daughters who choose how to live our life.

I'm not going to look out and say, 'Wow. I could grow some great grapes here.' instead I want to look out and see souls and sow the seed of the Gospel. Being filled with the Spirit is my ultimate satisfaction. Jesus isn't drinking. He hasn't had a drop since the last supper.

"I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." - Matthew 26:29 ESV

On that day I will break my fast also. I haven't made a pledge like that but I choose day to day to live in unity with my Savior. We will raise our glasses together in victory.


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